A Lebanese official has told Hezbollah commanders in Lebanon that if they do not respond to the recent Israeli attacks on Dhahiyeh region in Southern Beirut, Washington will avoid sanctioning some Lebanese entities, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news channel quoted Wa'am Wahhab as saying on Saturday.
Wahhab said this has most likely been Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad al-Hariri who has carried the message from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Hezbollah.
He further added that Hezbollah leaders have turned down the offer, stressing that Israel will certainly receive a response.
The Hezbollah resistance movement warned Israel of a “surprise blow” in retaliation for the Tel Aviv regime’s recent drone incursion into Lebanon.
In an interview with RT television network on Tuesday, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said that the recent Israeli drone attacks on the Lebanese soil could not be considered “a passing issue”.
He also refused to provide details of Hezbollah’s response, adding, however, that the reaction would be “a surprise” for the Tel Aviv regime.
Qassem further described the Lebanese government’s position on the Israeli assaults as correct, stressing that the country would not wait for a reaction from the United Nations Security Council.
Two Israeli drones — which Hezbollah said were on a bombing mission — crashed in the Hezbollah stronghold in the South of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, last Sunday. One of the drones blew up near the ground, causing some damage to Hezbollah’s media office in the Moawwad neighborhood of Beirut’s Dhahieh suburb.
Hezbollah announced the unmanned aerial vehicles were rigged with explosives, with the movement’s Secretary General Seyed Hassan Nasrallah stressing that they were on a “suicide mission”.
He also described Sunday’s raids as the first Israeli attack on Lebanon since the 2006 war.
“From now on, we will down any Israeli drones in Lebanon’s skies,” he said, adding, “I say to the Israeli army on the border from tonight, stand guard. Wait for us one, two, three, four days.”
Israel launched two wars on Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, in both of which Hezbollah inflicted heavy losses on the regime’s military. Israeli officials have even threatened another war on Lebanon.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday called Israeli assaults on the Southern suburbs of the capital of Beirut and the town of Qousaya a "declaration of war".
"Attacks on the suburbs and the Qousaya area violate the 1701 resolution; these attacks allow Lebanon to use the right to protect its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity", Aoun said during a meeting with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis.
Aoun added that the Lebanese people were seeking peace, not war, and "we do not accept that anyone threatens us in any way".
Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri on Monday during a meeting with the ambassadors from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council said that Beirut wanted to avoid an escalation of tensions with Israel over recent attacks, but that the international community needed to reject Israel's "blatant violation" of Lebanese sovereignty.
"The Lebanese Government finds an interest in avoiding any slide towards a serious escalation, but this requires the international community to prove its rejection of this flagrant violation of our sovereignty and of resolution 1701", he stated.
The prime minister added that Lebanon would file an official complaint with the UN Security Council, noting that it was important for the council to understand that preserving security and stability in the region was crucial to avoid possible escalation of regional violence to a scope "which no one can predict".